Dental Hygiene Tips for a Healthy Smile
Momentum Insurance Plans Highlights the Importance of Proper Dental Care Techniques
Healthy teeth and gums are an important part of overall wellness. Regular dental check-ups not only keep your smile looking its best, they can also help detect early warning signs of certain health issues. The best way to prevent serious dental problems is with quality preventive care.
Here are some other ways to help ensure healthy teeth and gums between check-ups.
In addition to regular dental check-ups, there are four basic steps to caring for teeth and gums:
Eat a variety of foods but eat fewer foods that contain sugars and starches. Hard candy is especially bad for teeth because it is in your mouth for a long time.
Because most people don't brush after snacks, sugary snack foods, and snacks like potato chips can lead to tooth decay. Even raisins and dried fruits can lead to decay due to high sugar content.
Brush at least twice a day. (If possible, brush after every meal). Brushing removes plaque. When plaque come into contact with food, acids are produced. These acids lead to cavities.
Do not brush your teeth immediately after eating foods high in sugar or acidity. First, thoroughly wash your mouth out with water after eating those foods. Then wait at least thirty minutes before brushing your teeth. This will keep the acids and sugars from acting like a fine sandpaper, wearing down your enamel. Your teeth will stay healthy longer.
Do not brush too vigorously if you use a hard-bristled toothbrush. The combination of harsh brushing with hard bristles will cause your gums to recede. Do not brush in a sawing motion, as this adds to the deterioration of your gum line, exposing entry points for disease or bacteria and making your teeth hyper-sensitive to temperature.
Always brush your teeth in gentle circles using a medium- or soft-bristled brush. This preserves the integrity of the gums and reduces entry points for harmful bacteria or diseases.
- Place a small amount of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush. (Use a soft toothbrush unless otherwise instructed by your dentist.)
- Place the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45 degree angle to the gum line.
- Move your brush using a small circular movement, focusing on one tooth at a time. Keep the tips of the bristles against the gum line. Don’t press too hard. Let the bristles get into spaces between teeth. Then repeat this process for the backside of your teeth.
- Brush across the top of your teeth. Make sure the bristles get in all areas.
- Brush your tongue gently. Brush from the back of your tongue to the front.
- You should brush for between 2 and 3 minutes to completely clean your mouth and then rinse with water.
- Replace your toothbrush at least every 4 months.
Toothpaste Choice Affects Mouth Health
Brushing your teeth with specially formulated toothpaste designed to reduce tooth sensitivity can actually increase tooth sensitivity over time. It creates a dependency on the sensitivity dulling chemicals found in the toothpaste, and the body stops taking its own measures to reduce sensitivity.
Using whitening toothpaste when you brush your teeth will not provide permanent results. Your teeth will remain a beautiful pearly white for a short while after you stop using your whitening toothpaste, but will return to a darker shade soon thereafter. Whitening toothpastes can also increase your tooth sensitivity.
Floss your teeth once a day. Flossing gets between the teeth where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. Remove about an 18-inch strip of floss from the dispenser.
- Wind the floss around a finger on each hand, and leave about a one inch section between the two fingers for flossing. Floss your top teeth first, then your bottom teeth.
- Push the floss between your teeth, being careful not to push too hard. You don’t want to injure your gums.
- Move the floss up and down against each tooth, along both sides of the space between each tooth. Again being careful not to push too hard, but also getting below the surface of the gum. Also floss behind the back teeth too.
- As you move from tooth to tooth, use a clean section of floss by winding the floss around your fingers.
Antibacterial rinses reduce bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque and gum disease, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Fluoride mouth rinses can help reduce tooth decay. The ADA does not recommend fluoride mouth rinses for children under age six because they could swallow it.
Maintaining Your Smile
- Do not chew on ice. Chewing on ice can crack or chip your teeth. It also causes much faster wear on the enamel of your teeth, which can’t be reversed.
- Do not smoke or chew tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco are horrible for your dental hygiene and your smile. Smoke or tobacco-saturated saliva can permeate the tiny spaces between your teeth and your gums, leading to coronary disease, cancer, tooth or jaw decay, and other serious health concerns.
- Wear a mouth guard when you play sports. Mouth injuries can result in bacterial infections or dead and rotting teeth. Many times, mouth injuries are sustained while playing sports. Knocking a tooth loose or getting a cut in your mouth can be dangerous. It’s important to properly fit your mouth guard to your individual mouth. Once you take the mouth guard out of the package, follow the instructions to customize it and better protect your mouth. Your dentist may also offer custom-made mouth guards.
Individual Platinum Insurance Plans
Taking care of your dental hygiene matters. Nobody enjoys going to the dentist to have restorative work done on their teeth. Maintaining your dental hygiene will help reduce your chances of needing dental care beyond the normal biannual checkup. Our Individual Platinum insurance plans cover 100% of your normal checkups. They also cover a portion of crowns or other types of dental care whose cause can often be traced back to cavities that could easily have been prevented with regular dental hygiene maintenance by the individual in their home. Following the tips we’ve provided is easy to do and will save you money, while keeping your teeth healthy.